Opinion: To my friends who have become aunts and uncles to my children, thank you
I don't know where I would be without my friends.
Finding out I was pregnant when I was 21 sent me through a rollercoaster of emotions.
I was happy, I was nervous, I was excited, I was afraid.
One fear that I had was that my friends would leave me behind. Even though they had always been there for me in the past I was afraid that they would get tired of the fact that I could never go on nights out and that my life now revolved around someone else.
To be honest I wouldn't have blamed them. We were all in our twenties and a kid joining the crew was a lot to take on, but take it on they did.
For the longest time I've been the only one of my friend group who is a parent. Even now in our thirties only one other of my close friends has a child.
Others are on their way to planning weddings and buying houses to have families eventually and I'm so excited for when they do so I can give back some of the support they've given me.
My friends could have stayed out of my child's life. They could have met me on my own for coffee or on the occasional night that I could wrangle a babysitter.
They didn't. They become aunts and uncles to my children. We were all so young and they didn't need to take on the role but they did and I'll forever be grateful to them because they have shaped my children's lives in ways they'll never know.
My first few days after giving birth were extremely difficult. I had gotten into difficulty during labour and required a C-section.
My body had been through the wars and now I had to look after a small infant. My now husband had no time off work and had to go back straight away so we could keep up with our growing expenses.
Knowing all of this one of my best friends took a week out of her annual leave and came up to my apartment everyday to help me. She let me get some sleep, brought me chicken fillet rolls and changed nappies which I was struggling with because of my stitches.
It was an act of pure love and kindness. She could have kept her days off to go on a lovely holiday but instead she used them helping me muddle through my first steps into motherhood.
My friends take up a huge space in my children's hearts. They see them as family and to be fair, my friends are family.
They are in so many of our family photos and not just special occasions either. They've gone on holidays with us, they've stayed over for sleepovers and attended school events.
My son already has in jokes with them and hobbies that he loves talking to some of my friends about because he knows they have that hobby too.
One thing that really gives me peace of mind is that as my children get older they'll always have good people to turn to. All kids go through phases as teenagers when they would rather get advice from anyone but their parents and I know when that time comes that they will have people that will steer them in the right direction.
My children are so blessed to have so many people in their lives that love them.
I knew before I became a parent that my friends were kind people but seeing how much room they have made in their lives for my children really proved just how wonderful they are.